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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
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Satire: Students horrified to learn professors can see Zoom chat

Professor invades Zoom chat, prompting student outcry

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

Professor Oliver Reed invaded his class’s Zoom chat on Tuesday, leading to an outcry from some students.  

“Good insight Kelly!” Reed typed in the Zoom chat box. 

This occurred about one minute after sophomore Kelly Anderson wrote three sentences in the chat about her views on the ethics of participant-observation ethnography. 

“I like it when students use the chat feature on Zoom,” Reed said. “It shows me who’s really paying attention versus who opened the computer, walked away and started cooking lunch.” 

Anderson said she appreciated the praise. 

“This is the first time a professor has said something to me in the chat,” she said. “At first I thought professors couldn’t see the chat, but I guess most of them just don’t care.” 

Other than Anderson, students did not appreciate Reed’s intrusion. 

“Wait, what? Professors can see what we write in the chat?!” freshman Lucas Prater said. “I guess I’m going to have to find another outlet for bashing my professors.”

Students displayed varying levels of understanding how Zoom works. 

“Like at least knock first before barging into the chat room,” sophomore Colby Grant said. 

Sophomore Judie Hill explained her frustration at Reed. 

“Knowing he can read our chat messages means we have to think before typing anything,” she said. “Where are all of us going to catch up on each other’s latest exploits if we can’t do it in the chat during a lecture?” 

One student summed up the way some students think about the chat. 

“The chat box is a student-centered space,” sophomore Libby Goode said. “If a professor wants to talk at us all class, at least let us have the chat to ourselves.” 

The University has not responded to this incident, but an AU spokesperson said students and faculty can expect a long-winded email in a matter of days that tries to appease all parties, without mentioning any concrete details.  

Owen Boice is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a satire columnist at The Eagle.

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